by John Steinbeck
The Pearl The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Swarms of fish lived near the bed to live near the oysters thrown back by the searching men and to nibble at the shining inner shells. But the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck, a little pat on the back by God or the gods or both. (1.9)
The Pearl never presents the point of view that Kino deserved the pearl, or that his finding it was any sort of divine justice – it is instead an arbitrary matter of good luck, or at most a reflection of the gods’ whims.
But in the song there was a secret little inner song, hardly perceptible, but always there, sweet and secret and clinging, almost hiding in the counter-melody, and this was the Song of the Pearl That Might Be, for every shell thrown in the basket might contain a pearl. Chance was against it, but luck and the gods might be for it. And in the canoe above him Kino knew that Juana was making the magic of prayer, her face set rigid and her muscles hard to force the luck, to tear the luck out of the gods' hands, for she needed the luck for the swollen shoulder of Coyotito. And because the need was great and the desire was great, the little secret melody of the pearl that might be was stronger this morning. Whole phrases of it came clearly and softly into the Song of the Undersea. (1.12)
Kino’s finding of the pearl is a mystical event, foreshadowed by and infused with a deep sense of divine power.
Then Juana steadied the boat while he climbed in. His eyes were shining with excitement, but in decency he pulled up his rock, and then he pulled up his basket of oysters and lifted them in. Juana sensed his excitement, and she pretended to look away. It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with God or the gods. But Juana stopped breathing. (2.14)
Juana’s claim that wanting something too much drives luck away is a reflection of a deeper truth: the natives of La Paz have been made to be ashamed of their dreams.